All by myself . . . don’t wanna be October 18, 2009Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD.
Tags: education teacher, learning, network community, pln
Towards the end of this week, I was chatting with a colleague who was bemoaning the fact that it was difficult to make progress (with ICT and our learning platform in particular), when you’re the solitary person in your department. Apart from the fact that you’re the one upon whom all the work falls, you’re drawing from a much smaller pool of ideas from which to try new things. I was asked if I had any suggestions for suitable directions that could be taken to develop the department’s learning platform usage.
I certainly had plenty of ideas, but two thoughts sprang to mind (I think that’s a record – two!). We do often approach things from the opposite direction – “What might be good for me to to fit into my lessons?” rather than “These are the areas of the curriculum which need developing and I’m concerned about the following aspects of my students’ learning. How can ICT (the learning platform) help me address those concerns?” I know that sometimes we find a great tool we know will engage and motivate students, so we find a way of adapting what we’re teaching to accommodate it. That’s fine. But surely at the forefront of our mind ought to be how we support, guide, encourage and develop our students’ learning, rather than ‘how do we make better use of our learning platform.’ The latter needs to arise from the former.
I then started to think about why someone in a single person department should still feel isolated in this day and age.
I know that this particular person is familar with and actively uses Facebook; they understand the concept of the networked community, but for whatever reason hasn’t made the transition into using similar tools to develop a professional leaning network. With tools like Twitter, guidance like this and a wealth of people to follow, ideas and inspiration begin to tumble forth. Then there are directories of other people such as Jane Hart’s Directory of Learning Professionals and well-established communities like Classroom 2.0 where support and guidance from like-minded indviduals in similar circumstances is always on tap.
Alec Couros produced this neat diagram which illustrates quite effectively why teachers have no reason to feel isolated and have a wealth of opportunities to draw from and contribute to the widest community imaginable.
As the mists in my crystal ball begin to clear, I see professional development looming large during the next week or so.